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Contemporary Political Movements and the Thought of Jacques RancièreEquality in Action$
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Todd May

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639823

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639823.001.0001

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Democratic Politics Now

Democratic Politics Now

(p.134) Democratic Politics Now
Contemporary Political Movements and the Thought of Jacques Rancière

Todd May

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explains the current status of democratic politics. Liberals reject utopia, seeing in it a dangerous illusion. Leftists embrace utopia, seeing in it a sign of hope. The distinction between reform and revolution has played an important role in the left's view of itself. Francis Fox Piven and Richard Cloward's approach to poor people's movements claims that they arise during periods of massive dislocation. They have provided significant conditions for a poor people's movement, but have neglected the spark of the movement itself, the conditions under which one moves from a situation ready for struggle to a movement. The difference and similarity of withdrawal and identity politics is covered. Jacques Rancière has pointed to the rarity of democratic politics, and Piven and Cloward are sober about the emergence of poor people's movements. Rancière has given a framework from within which to think about a democratic politics.

Keywords:   democratic politics, equality, Francis Fox Piven, Richard Cloward, poor people's movements, withdrawal, identity politics, Jacques Rancière

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